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Lamar Neagle’s occasional shots from distance always felt out of the blue, spontaneous cracks existing outside the flow of the game.

Run back the highlights, though, and you can pick up a few tells. Neagle gets a certain look in his eye when he spots vacated areas behind his Sounders teammates, his movements become more purposeful. A quick turn, he rears back his leg and, bam, the ball is whistling towards goal.

Neagle’s trade to D.C. United for allocation money, announced Monday by the clubs once the MLS trade window reopened, feels abrupt on one hand, the severing of ties with a popular player with deep local roots.

From a wider view, however, this move had been coming – and not only because the Washington Post and MLSSoccer.com reported the rough framework last week.

“I kind of expected it,” Neagle said. “I knew there were going to be big changes. … I was kind of on the back end by the end of the year.”

Neagle, a 28-year-old native of Federal Way, is tied for third in Sounders history with 26 goals and made 116 regular-season appearances for the club.

Neagle was one of the fewest constants during Seattle’s summer of adversity, stepping into a more central role with Obafemi Martins injured and Clint Dempsey out via suspension and national team duty. Neagle’s production tailed off, though, after a career-best 2014 in which he notched both nine goals and nine assists. He managed just four goals and two assists this season, dropping further down the depth chart after the Sounders acquired midfielders Erik Friberg, Andreas Ivanschitz and Nelson Valdez during the summer transfer window.

Neagle didn’t make the 18-player squad for either legs of Seattle’s Western Conference semifinal series loss to FC Dallas.

Neagle’s time in Seattle was defined by stops and starts from the time he caught on as a rookie prior to the club’s inaugural season in 2009. He was waived after that year, but made his way back after winning USL MVP in 2010 with Charleston. He made 23 MLS appearances for Seattle that next season – then got traded to Montreal as part of the Eddie Johnson trade.

“I think it’s a good move for both parties,” Neagle said. “Me being from Seattle, it’s hard to leave, but I’ve done it before.”

Neagle was characteristically upbeat on Monday, even if he was still admittedly shaking off the shock of the announcement. The front office let him know during his end-of-season review that other teams were interested, and D.C. was the player’s preferred destination among the suitors.

He played with Nick DeLeon in college at UNLV, and D.C. United’s all-for-one style of building around overlooked veterans would appear to suit Neagle well.

“I never even imagined I’d be living in Washington D.C.,” Neagle said. “The history of it. On the West Coast, there’s not as much history to it. … That’s something that appeals to me.

“Obviously, I can’t visit my grandma as often. But at the same time, I’m very excited about moving to D.C. and the possibilities.”